To promote one language and culture, another language and culture need not be demonised
By Dr K. Ajoy Kumar
New Delhi: Humans grow wiser after they have developed a tool of communication, that is, a language during the evolution process. Since then, the language has become a tool for cultural exchange and upbringing from generation to generation. Humans used the same tool to create literature, and preserve history for future generations to know about their ancestors.
As Noam Chomsky mentioned through the Language Acquisition Device kids learn their language. We sleep with it, we dream in it, we express our feelings to our nearer and dearer using the common language, and we vent out our anger in it. In short, humans just cannot exist without their language. All of sudden some elders in the government staying more than 800 km away from you decide to derecognize your language and they declare a ban on your language. In the following developments, the government sends their armed forces to check if the ban on your language is working or not.
That’s what happened in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions. People living in these areas know only one language, that is, Russian. From March 2014 onwards antiterrorist attacks have been started against so-called rebels of these regions. Initially, when the tanks of Ukrainian armed forces entered the Donbas region, people of those areas received them with open hands, considering them as their own. It never came to their mind that their armed forces would start shooting at them. But very soon it became clear to the Donbas people that they were wrong.
On May 11, 2014 Donetsk People’s Republic had their referendum, in which almost 90% of the population voted to favour the self-proclamation of independence. Thus, “the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, next to Russia’s border, are collectively known as Donbas, a coal-mining industrial centre. The two declared independence from Kyiv in 2014, and civil war erupted.” On May 26, 2014 Peter Poroshenko made a statement that within 3 months the antiterrorist operation will be over. Following his statement air attacks have been started on these regions. The shelling of the residential areas of these regions has continued till February 2022.
“There are mass graves scattered across Donbas, from which bodies of civilians are regularly exhumed. Yet, while the shelling and killings continued, Western media remained silent. According to UN estimates, over 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict.” The number of victims of the Donbas Region has reached 14000 by February 2022.
The youngest “rebel”, who was killed in the shelling of Ukrainian forces was just 2-year-old. From one of the videos of an Azov member, it becomes clear that they specifically targeted kids, so that they will not have anyone to take revenge for them. According to a statement by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, around 500 kids have been killed during the last 8 years in Donbas Region.
People of this region have been asking just one question, what is our mistake? This is our land, and we are going to stay here, many of them have been expressing this statement.
From a linguistic point of view, both Russian and Ukrainian are not entirely different languages. Both belong to the Eastern group of Slavic languages. Grammatically they have almost the same structure. The animosity between these two nations has been created artificially, as both the nations have very close relations with each other. Food habits and cultural nuances are almost the same for both nations. Since Maidan’s days, ultranationalist groups and admirers of the Second World War German Nazi supporter Stepan Bandera have increased their activities in spreading Russophobia among the Ukrainian population, reportedly, with the support of the Ukrainian government.
For the last 8 years, a systematic genocide of Russian language speakers has been continuing in the eastern part of Ukraine, especially in Lugansk and Donetsk regions. Forces of Azov groups have created a fear among Russian speakers. The Ukrainian government led initially by Poroshenko, and later by Zelensky has never shown any interest in implementing the Minsk agreements.
So far at least 800 thousand of the Donbas population have taken Russian citizenship. After getting an invitation from leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions for recognition of the regions and approval by the Russian security council, the Russian President has decided to safeguard the life of the Russian speaking ethnic population by sending Russian armed forces. The President, Vladimir Putin has given two tasks, apart from safeguarding the lives of Ukrainian civilians, i.e., demilitarization and denazification.
It appears from the information war, waged by the US and other western countries, they have a lot to hide. Otherwise, logically, they shouldn’t have blocked all Russian channels by Google YouTube. Following the western media, most Indian media channels are not giving balanced news. By accessing Russian information channels, one can get a different picture, but Google YouTube has blocked all Russian channels, and even the search engines are manipulated.
As instructed by their President, Russian forces are only destroying Ukrainian military establishments. Ukrainian civilians are getting attacked by Ukrainian Neo-Nazi’s forces. If the movement of Russian forces was followed by news channels, it would have become clear who was behind the killing of the Indian student, who was shot dead by Ukrainian armed forces, as by then the Russian army wasn’t even in the vicinity of Kharkiv.
Google Play has also blocked all Russian apps from installation. The day before yesterday some Indian journalists were there in Donetsk along with other international journalists. Hope they will be allowed to broadcast their views on-ground realities. Right now, Russian forces are liberating Ukrainians from Azov forces in Mariupol. According to today’s unconfirmed news Mariupol has been liberated from the Azov battalion.
Watching today’s morning reportage from Russian Pervyi Kanal (The First Channel), I became very emotional and couldn’t control my tears. According to video reportage, 19 kids, who were hiding in the basement of a house for the last 20 days, were rescued by Russian forces and they were also provided medical treatment. According to the doctor, who treated them, one of the kids asked if they were being taken to be killed.
The soldiers, who have rescued them, got in touch with the mother of one kid, and that lady has expressed her overwhelming happiness for their act. It appears that protecting patriots is getting protected by the kids. Hope I may be proven wrong.
In another video reportage from Mariupol, an Azov militant was found talking on a smartphone using a number saved as Mama (Mummy) and telling her that her son is no more. When she asked to show the body, he answered that the son’s body was cut into pieces. Let’s hope that her son is alive and that cruel militant gets punished. These kinds of horrible atrocities are being carried out by the Azov militants, who are using the Ukrainian civilians as bulletproof shields, according to the Russian Defence Ministry.
Historically it is a proven fact, that any imposition of one language on others would lead to the creation of a conflict situation. The formation of Bangladesh as a result of Urdu’s imposition on Bangla speaking people. February 21is celebrated every year as the International Day of Mother language in memory of Bangladeshi students, who sacrificed their lives for protecting their mother tongue.
It is being reported in one of the Russian documentaries, that it was a mistake by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, who recognised Ukraine as one of the Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. According to certain historical documents, Ulyanov’s family had a tradition of speaking one language on each day of the week. Thus, reportedly all family members of Ulyanovs were polyglots.
Thus, Lenin has put a lot of effort to protect all languages that were existing in the USSR. In the Soviet Education system, school education used to take place in Russian as well as in the local language. Thus, all languages used to be protected. However, the scientific and technological language was developed only in the Russian language. That should be considered a great positive development, as it gave the great impulse for the development of science and technology in the USSR.
After derecognizing the Russian language, Ukrainian medical universities have started offering education in English. It would have been far easier to offer medical and other technical courses in the Russian medium, as Russian medical and technical experts are easily available in Ukraine.
Recognizing Russian as one of the state languages by the Ukrainian government can resolve the conflict. The Ukrainian Constitution of 1996 envisages the protection of the Ukrainian and also Russian language. Any genuine democratic country can get inspiration from the Indian Constitution, which firmly underlines the Policy of Unity in Diversity.
As of today, nearly 4 million people have left Ukraine due to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine. The exodus of so many people from their country indicates that they don’t trust their President. Though I am not a political science student, I fail to understand the eastward expansion of NATO, is it to threaten neighbouring countries or protect themselves from non-existent threats? Is it possible to make use of the NATO expansion fund for something of a noble cause, for example, environment protection or elimination of poverty?
I would like to request the western countries to resolve the conflict by playing a mediator role, instead of supplying weapons and ammunition to Ukrainian forces, which in turn will prolong the conflict. First of all, these western countries have to stop praising Zelensky as a great patriot and saviour of Ukraine. Saviours don’t let their people die, moreover they don’t kill their people, because of their choice of language.
As a famous Telugu poet, Gurajada Apparao wrote, A country means not soil, but it means people. As for the country, it is the responsibility of the Head of the State to protect the lives of their people, irrespective of their religion and language. Let’s hope that common sense prevails!!!
I felt like ending this article with this, however, the latest developments disturbed me a lot. Russian forces left Bucha on March 30 and on April 2 its Mayor visited that place and it was visible that there weren’t any bodies and debris. The city dwellers were found to be talking in the Ukrainian language on a YouTube channel. However, the particular video is no longer available on YouTube, as the most obedient propagandist slave of the USA, Google YouTube has removed it.
All of sudden on April 3scattered dead bodies were shown to the world by the western media, blaming Russian forces. Many countries, including the USA, have asked for a thorough investigation.
The most gruesome and horrible attack on Kramatorsk Railway station by “A Tochka U ballistic missile, which reportedly killed dozens of civilians in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on Friday, came from a town under the control of Ukrainian forces, the Russian Defense Ministry has claimed. The missile was fired from Dobropole, around 45 km southwest of the city, Moscow stated.”
Just one look at the projectile it becomes clear that it was specially designed to divert the attention towards Russian forces with the Russian words (за детей for the kids) written on it. The way that attack was played out, it appears that everything was planned meticulously by Ukrainian forces. Within minutes after the attack, the main journalists were there to cover the developments.
Tragically, most Indian media channels have played out the developments, as they were instructed, without paying any attention to the statements of the Russian Defence Ministry. All these developments need to be investigated unbiasedly. Just imagine why will Russian forces write on the missile in the Russian language if they had plans to bomb Kramatorsk? Doesn’t it sound quite illogical?
I would like to make a humble request to the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, please start to spread the love towards the Russian language, which made you reach such heights. Just remember that you have become a popular and famous comedian and actor only thanks to the Russian language. Otherwise, the world wouldn’t have known about you. Just think it over.
Only love and affection for nearer and nearer can resolve so many issues. Ukrainian language and culture can easily be promoted without demoting the Russian language and demonising its culture. Dear Zelensky, for the US and other western countries, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is just an interest of business, to prove and establish their dominance all over the world.
They are least bothered about the number of casualties from Ukraine or Russia, as they and their people are not affected by the war. However, as a Head of the State, it is your responsibility to save the life of each Ukrainian citizen. The establishment of peace is possible only through negotiations and not by requesting and accepting more and more arms and ammunition. I know that you are now flying high in an air bubble with heightened egoistic feelings, but it doesn’t take much time for the bubble to burst out and your fall to the lowest level would be inevitable.
About the Author: Dr K. Ajoy Kumar is an Assistant Professor at the Centre of Russian Studies, SLL&CS, JNU, New Delhi.